Friday, May 22, 2015

I've added Rix railings to the 30th street station scene (see April 30th blog entry) and added roadway striping. Unfortunately the 1/32" striping has lost some of its stickiness and will eventually need to be replaced. It's getting there slooooowly.

Op Session 3 Post Mortem

1) We had a lot of fun
2) We got to run almost the entire train schedule
3) Short sleeves definitely keep the scenery damage levels down (sorry about those scraped forearms)  :-)

Problems to fix
1) I need to solder a joint in the LX yard lead
2) I need to remove 1 balky covered hopper (too light to stay on the tracks)
3) A coupler drooped and basically fell out of one of the sharks that recently had KD's installed (a B unit also had a coupler failure prior to the beginning of the session)
4) Need to check the staging yard which is power routed via turnouts (possibly 2 were being powered at once)
5) Out of 37 cars remaining in the Pavonia side of the yard, only 1 load and 6 empties were classified onto the correct tracks at the end of the session
6) None of the yard waybills were turned
7) Two pairs of engines were left interspersed with the freight cars within the yard
8) Tim left without his homework (a tower kit to build)

1) The first positive totally outweighs all the problems
2) We are getting really good at running trains
3) We have a glaring need to review the purpose of the waybill usage (we are moving freight not just running trains)
4) We need to reduce demerits to at least only double figures!  :-)
5) In another year we should have the hang of it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Operating Session #3

Some of my friends from and forums joined me for a 3rd operation session. The goal was to run a full day's PRSL schedule (1974 - the only one I have; trackage and target era is early 1950s). We fell just short of acheiveing that. Bob (NTrainz1) and Tim (host of manned the Camden Pavonia Yard (Brown Tower) and Gene (epumph) and I took Red Oak tower (Brooklawn, Westville, Woodbury).

All the trains leave Camden and return and get (re)classified!

1) Philly Merchandise Transfer
                                    Originates from staging
                                    Classify into appropriate trains
                                    Save engine(s) & caboose for return trip

2) WY843/842            Deepwater Coal Drag to Atlantic City Electric (Deepwater on Penns Grove branch)
                                    Originates from Philly (staging)
                                    Change engines (RDG to PRR/PRSL & Caboose RDG to PRSL and dispatch
                                    When WY842 returns: reverse engine and caboose changes & dispatch to Philly (staging)

*) Camden Local        Fit in whenever you have time
                                    Services RCA, Van Sciber, & Campbell Soup

3) WY33/34                Millville local

4) WY841/840            Deepwater local

5) WY79/80                Tank train sweeper for Texaco (Westville) and Sunoco (Paulsboro (off-line)).

6) Pavonia to Philly Merchandise transfer
                                    Use original engines(s) and caboose
                                    Forward all non-south Jersey freight and all empties not needed for tomorrow's runs

We ended with all trains run except for the Camden to Philly Merchandise transfer run. The last local (Penns Grove) had just returned to the Camden Pavonia yard but had not be broken down and classified. Mr. Tim also forgot to classify the Millville local when it returned, hence no Philly transfer. Oh well, next time!

We had a great time.
We have also started some guideline rules.
The guys will have to fill in the missing ones:

.....1) Rick is always right (he owns the railroad).
.....2) When something goes wrong, it is Tim's fault!
.....4) Tim needs to be fed regularly
.....5) If it is not working, just keep pushing buttons and throwing toggle switches
.....6) 0-5-0 moves are only for engines (and re-rails)
.....8) Just put that car over there, we'll get to it later

Bob hiding behind Tim as they attempt to get the next local out of Camden and over the road:

Bob's visiting U25B (only requires a modest 10-13 year time warp).

Gene (and Rick) had the best jobs. We had plenty of time to lean over Woodbury and harass the yard crew: "Where's our next local?!?!"

Saturday, May 9, 2015

What could have been!

The Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines in 2015?

The old real PRSL trackage has certainly seen its full share of the NS Heritage units (and UP and BNSF and old ATSF) but imagine if the PRSL were still alive today and these were its own units.

After receiving a friend's Reading SD70ACe, I couldn't resist forcing my 1950 trackage to endure yet another time warp to using today's power. Oh what could have been!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Philly - Part II

Well the Russians never replied, not the Swiss, nor the Ukrainians. So either the Google stats are useless or the foreigners are hiding.  Back to modeling. I added what I thought was catenary to the high line but it was probably just a structure for electrical or signal wiring. The catenary must have already been removed from the picture I was referencing.

Looking for a backdrop, I found a photo of 1950s Philadelphia. Would you believe it was taken from the same general location I am modeling? It even includes a portion of the high line just modeled. I just have a black and white laser printer so the background is in B&W and spanning 3 pages. Better than nothing.

Next I turned my attention to the 30th Street station area using a somewhat similar Walthers station model. I am merely trying to give an "impression" of the area. Compare the photo below (and the April 10th Blog photo) to see what I was trying to simulate. I still need to build the concrete/stone wall along the river, add river pilings and highway railings (Rix) and stripe the roads. I also need to get some additional CMW 1950s taxis but they seem to be out of stock everywhere. So most of the 16 LPPs (Little Plastic People) wandering around the station will just have to take a bus!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

There was a 1966 slapstick comedy called The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! The movie description was: "Without hostile intent, a Soviet sub runs aground off New England. Men are sent for a boat, but many villagers go into a tizzy..."

You might ask what this has to do with modeling the Pennsylvania - Reading Seashore Lines in N scale? Good question!  But I have a question of my own. While looking at the Google stats showing the origins of hits on my blog I found this:

So I am super curious why the "Russians" (or the Swiss for that matter) are interested in the PRSL in N scale. (The Ukrainians have also had their hits on my site.) 

So if any of those non-USA readers see this, would you please satisfy my curiosity and tell me what you find interesting here. Otherwise we will have get Jonathan Winters out of his tomb and send him looking for you!

Friday, April 10, 2015

The Philly High Line

While waiting for electrical supplies for the Camden/Philly control panel, I turned my attention to the freight high line behind the 30th street station in Philadelphia.

Here is the effect I'm trying to achieve:

I used the lower portion of only 2 Micro Engineering trestles (the bridge is double tracked) and 3 of the wider girder pieces so I have tons of material left over from the 4 kits I collected.

Anyway here is where I started.

And here is the baby step intermediate progress.

Still needs railings, catenary structures (from where?) and a backdrop (someday).

So, hi ho, and onto the station area we go!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Control Panels and St. Pat's

Control Panels

I got 2 of my 3 control panels replaced with ones using mini-toggle switches. The old panels used Atlas Selectors.

In my September 20, 2014 blog entry I listed "Things That Should Be Illegal to Give Rick!" Topping the list was a soldering iron. So why risk additional burns (3 minor) to solder mini-toggles?

The old set-up with Atlas Selectores was fine for continuous running but a hassle when switching (and this is a layout set up for switching operation sessions). It is a DC layout (due to costs and 45 years of accumulated equipment; ditto for code 80 track and 52 turnouts). Doing run-arounds and set-outs/pickups meant searching the various track diagrams on the side of the layout for the Selector number and then finding the Selector switch. This should eliminate much of the hunt and peck.

The Westville panel has 9 toggles and the Woodbury panel 18 (the Camden/Philly panel will have 23). I have now run out of 24 AWG wire, terminal blocks and connector spades. The last panel will have to wait until after the tax season ends anyway.

Westville (/Brooklawn/North Woodbury) Panel:

Wiring the panels:

The Woodbury panel:

St Pat's Church

In the Woodbury station area, the principal structure after the station is the Roman Catholic church (St Patrick's) across the street.

My stand-in has been a very Presbyterian looking church (I love the model but it is a poor representation of the prototype).
I recently saw a Tomytec church on eBay. It has many of the characteristics of St Pat's so I ordered one and plopped it down on Cooper Street across from the station. (Yes, it needs to have the foundations "buried".)

While far from perfect it does have many of the characteristics of St Pat's, the buttresses, window styles, etc. so it should be a closer stand-in. Down the road (ha ha) it should have the narthex shorted and appropriate doors put in and a grayish tint to make the bricks look more like a stone structure. It also needs a new roof structure to eliminate the upper false front.

Progress is our most important product (even if it comes in baby steps).

Friday, March 13, 2015


"Minor" Updates
Got a pair of repaired sharks back, bringing my total up to 14 again. I love Baldwin sharks but they were a rare occurrence on the PRSL so at least half must go!

Got enough parts to get the Heljan turntable rebuilt. Whether it ever gets wired is another question, but K4s and Sharks look mighty pretty showing off on it.

Sold off 4 engines and 7 freight cars. ("Progress is our most important product!")

Major Update

Actually got the 3rd op session scheduled for May. Getting consensus can be a struggle. So looking forward to it!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


I have a railroading friend who got diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer out of the blue 4-5 months back. He went home to be with the Lord Thursday. Kinda makes you stop and re-evaluate. I am starting to pile up the years and "expecting" to be able to actively participate with my "N" scale railroad for at least another 10 years. Having said that, I no longer have the capability to do the same modeling projects I could do when I was younger, had better eyesight, dexterity, and more money! So I have decided to document my bucket list - things I would like to get done before I depart the hobby (one way or another).

Some projects on my "Train Bucket List (feel free to volunteer to help):

High Priority:

-   Woodbury Station (Woodbury is the front and center focal point of my layout). Model does not have to be detailed but does have to capture the structural outlines and look. The locals have to be able to say: "O look, there's the Woodbury train station!"
Woodbury 1951 PRSL Vol 2 p104b
Woodbury Station - Back Side
-   St Patrick's R.C. church (I am not R.C. but it is a landmark right across the street from the station (currently occupied on my layout by a very Presbyterian looking church structure). Just needs to give the same impression. Basically the building front.

-   Decal (and paint touch up) 3 RDCs (and the decaling has to be perfectly placed or I will receive massive aggravation from the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines Historical Society. (I have the decals.))

+  Cut my freight car inventory in half (currently 657 646 cars) by sale or trade for work.
+  Cut my locomotive roster (126 119) in half (mostly older ("classic") engines; by sale or trade for work.
+  Sell my unused HO BLI PRR 2-10-0 Decapod & HO BLI PRR Centipede.
+  Sell my unused Kato N gauge Broadway Limited Passenger set (since it never ran on the PRSL!).
-  Manayunk bridges (tough assignment here since it has to have the look but span the existing scenery).

+ Westville brick station,
+ 30th street steel trestle
+ 30th street station area
+ Camden downtown (generic)
++ Enjoy the company of like minded hobbyists in local op sessions.

Mid-Level Priority:

-  Remove lettering (does not seem to want to budge) from 4 Model Power/AHM PRR P70 coaches and decal for PRSL (I have the decals).

-  Del Monte Food distributors (2 story with a rounded quanson hut type roof structure)

-  Get at least 3 of my 5 Bachmann Plus PRR F7s fixed (the typical old Bachmann problem: all gears split and no parts available from Bachmann)

Lower Priority:

-  GHQ PRR L1 Mikado brass conversion (and paint) (I have the GHQ kit and (2) Kato Mikados).
-  Get 3 Bachmann Plus ATSF F7s fixed (split gears)
-  Get a Kato Reading Bee-Line SD45 fixed (no idea why it stopped running)
? Add KD couplers to several engines

+  =   I can still do

-   =   I can no longer do; looking for trade partners